Sunday 6 May 2018

Tom Coll - Drummer with Fontaines DC, Be Curious Kid and The Hit Machine

What inspired you to take up drumming?

I grew up in a really musical household surrounded by a lot of trad music and my Dad was involved in the world of pipe bands so I was immersed in rudiments and sheet music from a young age. I got a drum kit when I was 12 and spent my teenage years in my room trying my best to play along to Thin Lizzy and Led Zeppelin tunes. I guess the inspiration to take up drumming was just born out of a love for music and drumming was the only medium that I felt I could express myself through.
I have to mention my teacher Anthony McNamee who really made me feel I could actually do this professionally and prepared me for studying drums at third level.

What is your drum gear setup?

I'm currently playing a Gretsch Renown. I've always loved the warm sound of Gretsch kits and my Renown is nice and deep sounding.
The shell sizes are 22" Kick,12" Rack and a 16" Floor
I mainly play a 14x6.5 Gretsch New Classic Snare with an Evans Heavyweight head to get a nice low crack.

I proudly endorse Sabian Cymbals and Vater Drumsticks and I use a 20" Legacy O-Zone Ride as my main Crash, a 20" HHX Evolution Ride and 14" HHX Evolution Hats.
Vater Fatback 3A's are my sticks of choice.

Who are the drummers that most influence you?

Studying drums at BIMM exposed me to so many legendary drummers so it's really hard to pick which influenced me most. Levon Helm is probably the one that sticks out the most. His sense of just sitting in a groove and playing for the song is class.
I was lucky enough to spend a week learning under Mark Guilliana at the 21 Drums camp last year at Grouse Lodge and he really influenced my approach to improvisation and creativity at the kit. The lad is a genius.
Then there's people like Topper Headon of The Clash, James Gadson, Rob Turner from Gogo Penguin, Adam Faulkner of Girl Band and Matt Helders from Arctic Monkeys who I've definitely been influenced by a lot.

What are your favourite songs / albums?

It changes all the time. I'm listening to a lot of Post-Punk at the minute so bands like The Fall, Joy Division, Bikini Kill, Gang of Four, Savages and Eagulls.
If I was to name a favourite album at the minute it would probably be 'Brutalism' by a band from Bristol called IDLES. It's the most engaging and aggressive new music I've heard in quite a while.
My favourite song is definitely 'The Steady Song' by Republic of Loose. It's a perfectly written pop song from start to finish and the best fun to jam along to.

What current projects are you involved in?

Fontaines DC is my main project these days. We've released three 7" records this year and have a busy summer of European and US dates ahead of us and hopefully the debut album in the very near future so it's been a really exciting 2018 thus far. I also play in a post-rock band called Be Curious Kid and with a great bunch of Dublin drummers in The Hit Machine.

What advice would you give someone embarking on a career in drums?

I know it's sounds really clich├ęd but try and be yourself behind the kit. I spent a long time being really demoralised because I wasn't this virtuoso drummer with crazy chops but I think developing your own style of playing and focusing on the aspects that you're good at or you enjoy is so worthwhile. Personality in your playing is the most important thing for me. 

Play music that you believe in, surround yourself by good people and work really hard. That's all the advice I can give.

Photo Credit: Erica Coburn Photography